People Before Profit warns of major hike in Local Property Tax and devastating cuts to local services unless government funds councils for cost of COVID19
Dún Laoaghire TD said that under no circumstances should ordinary people be expected to pay the bill for COVID19
In a tatement this morning People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that unless the government fills the COVID19 hole in local authority funds, there will be major hikes in property tax and disastrous cuts to local services.
At the beginning of the crisis the Minister for Local Government announced a rates holiday for businesses affected by the crisis. This, along with the cancellation of events, the collapse in parking fees and other changes due to COVID, means that councils all across the country are facing a huge hole in their funds as they face into drawing up a balanced budget for 2021.
Local Authorities’ income comes from rates from local businesses, property tax, rents and various grants from central government. The only way councils can increase their incomes is by raising the rates, the LPT or the rents. The grants are decided by central government.
Council managements across the country are now looking for councillors to hike up property tax to plug the hole.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “It would be utterly unacceptable if the government leaves councils high & dry without enough money to fund basic services as a result of the pandemic, therefore leaving them with no option but to raise the property tax, rates and/or rents.
“It is outrageous that ordinary people would now be handed the bill for COVID19. The government has repeatedly said that austerity is not the answer to the current crisis we find ourselves in, yet they are now leaving councils in the position that they will have to drastically cut local services and increase the already-unfair Property Tax.”
Cllr Melisa Halpin said: “Yesterday we were briefed by council management, who told us that COVID has left a €6.7 million deficit in the Council budget. Management listed all the cuts that this would mean, including no road or footpath repairs, reduced bin collections, reduced road sweeping, no replacement of street lighting, no weeding, less housing maintenance, longer turnaround times for allocation of houses, a slowdown in recruitment, amongst other things. No part of the council services would be left untouched.
“Management appealed to us councillors to raise the property tax by 20% to ensure that these cuts would not go ahead.
“No People Before Profit councillors will be voting for any increase in the local property tax, instead we will be demanding an emergency meeting with the relevant ministers to outline the situation and secure the funds from them to ensure that there are neither cuts to services nor a hike in the tax.”